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Can't Stand Your Job?

If you clicked on this blog there is a good chance that you are not feeling satisfied with your job. Whether you're underpaid, have annoying coworkers, or feel bored by what you do, it can be extremely challenging to maintain the energy and motivation to get up and go to work each day. If you are starting to develop negative feelings about your job you are not alone. Reports show that 40% of employees noted that their job quality has worsened since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

There could be countless reasons why you may not be happy with your employment, but some common reasons include low wages, lack of benefits, a horrible boss, poor communication, a long commute, mind numbing responsibilities, inconvenient work hours, a toxic work environment, or a job with high demands and low recognition. While negative feelings about your job are common, they can not only affect your work and productivity, but they can also diminish your mental health, physical health, and your overall well-being. Hating your job can cause a lot of stress and worry that you experience at work and at home. Constant negative feelings about your job can lead to weight changes, frequent illness, stomach problems, sleep problems, headaches, muscle aches, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, etc. Unfortunately, leaving the job may not be an easy answer for a lot of people. There are a lot of reasons why people may stay at a job they don’t like such as the paycheck, the benefits, the sense of security, and the lack of other opportunities. However, if you're unsatisfied with your job, you do not have to give up hope.

Below is a list of things that you can do to help improve how you feel about your job. 

  • Leave Work at Work: You already spend one third of your life doing your job. Instead of dedicating more of your time to your job outside of work by talking and thinking about it, leave work at work and take the time to actually enjoy your personal life.

  • Consider Some Helpful Adjustments: If you are able to identify specific problems that are causing you stress or unhappiness at the workplace, take steps to address them if you can. For example, if you are having issues with a coworker, consider setting up a meeting with them and a supervisor to talk it out. If you are confused about your responsibilities or assigned tasks, ask your manager for clarification. Making small changes when possible can really make or break your mood at work. 

  • Vent: Sometimes all we need is to release all the negativity that a bad job brings. Venting to friends and loved ones can be a great way to get what's bothering you off your chest and alleviate pressure. Talking with people can help you develop skills for how to cope with your job and allow you to view things from another perspective. Other ways you can vent include journaling, visiting online message boards, making art, or talking with a therapist. 

  • Focus on What You Do Like:  No matter how bad your job is, it is likely that there are also some parts of your job that you like. If you focus your attention on the aspects of your job that makes you happy, you’re more likely to be able to find small pockets of joy throughout the workday. 

  • Goal Setting: Identify your short- and long-term goals and consider the steps that you need to take to achieve them. If possible, try to do something each week that will get you closer to getting that job that you will love. This could look like sending in an application to a more promising position, looking up the different degree programs in your area, or beginning to network in order to find other opportunities. 

  • Focus On the Aspects of Your Life Where You Feel Successful: Working at a job you despise does not do much for your self-esteem. It's important that you focus on the positive qualities that you possess and the successes that you already have in your life. Do you have strong friendships? Are you a good partner in your marriage? Do you volunteer on the weekends? Whatever it is, take the time to remember the areas of your life where you do feel successful. 

  • Self-Care: Feeling run down, tired, or sick can make an already tough workday even more difficult. It's important that you set yourself up to have the best day possible. Make sure that you are taking care of yourself and ensure that all of your basic needs are met. This can look like getting good nutrition, exercise, socializing with friends, and taking time to engage in the hobbies you care about.  

  • Set Boundaries: Boundaries are necessary for maintaining a healthy work life balance. What boundaries you need to set are unique to you but setting healthy work boundaries can look like setting a firm stop time, taking your breaks, not doing extra work off the clock, asking coworkers to not contact you about work on your days off, etc. For tips on how to set boundaries, you can check out the blog post titled Setting Boundaries.

  • Raise Your Energy Levels: When you hate your job, it's even more important to find activities outside of work that make you happy and give you something to be excited about. Start that hobby you have always been interested in or find activities that help you relax or allow you to express yourself creatively such as visual art, music, or poetry. Whatever it is, find something that brings you joy and makes you want to get out of bed in the morning.

  • Consider Communicating with Your Manager: There is a chance that your employer is not aware of the situation or your feelings. By expressing how you feel, your employer may be able to make the necessary steps to improve your perspective of the job. 

  • Gratitude: Take time each day to consider the things in life that you are thankful for. This can include the things about work that you're grateful for, small achievements that you have made, and things that excite you. Doing this may just help you become more optimistic about your job, or at the very least it will remind you of all the positives that you do have in your life. 

  • Improve Your Well-Being Outside of Work: Low life satisfaction can make your experience at work worse. Sometimes the feelings we experience with our job are due to bigger issues. Take time to reflect on what could be causing your stress or unhappiness and figure out what kind of changes you can make during and outside of work. If the problem really is that work is not leaving you fulfilled, consider looking in other places for satisfaction. A volunteer position, a side hustle, a new friend, or a new hobby can help fill the gap left by an unsatisfying job. 

  • Seek Therapy: A therapist can help provide you with a place to vent, give you the tools you need to cope, and help you reach your life goals. 

In addition, there are also steps that you can take while you are at work in order to boost your mood such as…

  • Setting Up a Good Working Environment: The space that you are working in all day can really influence your mood. If your space allows it, try to make it personalized for you. Fill it with pictures of loved ones, get some fancy stationary, put out plants, leave positive quotes, or anything else that may make you smile throughout the day. Decluttering your workspace can also allow you the space needed to think more clearly.

  • To-Do List: Having a to-do list is helpful for keeping you organized through the day and it helps reduce the mental responsibility of having to remember everything. Listing tasks in order of priority can help alleviate any unnecessary pressure on you. 

  • Self- Soothe: If you feel yourself starting to become overwhelmed at work, it’s okay to take a break in order to get your mind and body back on track. Utilizing relaxation skills such as deep breathing or meditation can help you return to a clearer headspace. 

  • Enhance Your Work Routine: Doing the same thing day after day can get extremely boring. Change up your day by taking another route to work, try a new coffee, or work out in the morning. 

  • Take Your Breaks: Our brains get tired just like our muscles do which is why breaks are so important. Taking your breaks helps to replenish your energy and give you the boost you need to make it through the rest of the day. Consider how you are spending your breaks and try to make a conscious decision to spend it in a way the helps you feel refreshed. You can listen to music, read a book, watch a show, talk with friends, eat outside, take a walk, etc. 

  • Dress Confidently: Our clothing can control a lot about how we feel. Wearing something that makes you feel confident to work can help improve your overall attitude. Even if you wear a uniform, adding some accessories can bring on positive vibes. 

  • Build Connections with Co-Workers: Developing good relationships with your colleagues can make work more fun and help pass the time. It also can give you something to look forward to each day. 

  • Keep a Humor File on Hand: Looking at funny things helps to reduce your stress and improve your mood. While working, keep something nearby that will make you laugh when you need it. 

  • Smile: Studies suggest that faking a smile can trick your brain into actually being happy. Being positive is often the best approach for combating work challenges. Try smiling more throughout the day. While it may start out as ingenuine, you may notice that the smiles become more real with time. 

  • Incorporate Rituals into the Day: Having something to look forward to each day can help you get out of bed in the morning and give you the motivation to come to work. The ritual can be as simple or as complex as you want. Some examples include getting coffee from your favorite coffee shop or sharing lunch with your favorite coworker every day. 

There is a lot of pressure placed on us to love our jobs. However, if you experience negative feelings about your line of work, you are in the majority. While you may not always be able to change your job overnight, following the tips and tricks above may help improve your attitude about work and your overall wellbeing.

Written by,

Tierney Puig, Intern

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